Poetry collected or written in Bridlington by Adrian Spendlow

A message from adrian before his move to valhalla

Hello, I am a full-time poet and community worker (born in Bridlington) and recently I was employed as Writer in Residence for Bridlington for a short while. My main brief was to run 'Poetry Adventures' on the beach and to write with the children. I also worked in the Maritime Museum with Mike and Diane Wilson (Who acted as volunteers for me throughout) and on the harbour with around 200 locals and visitors in informal groups.

The Residency was arranged through Work Quake for John Clarke and during the course of the sessions many poems were produced, mainly in groups.

The poems are all below. The first two or three were created in the museum and the middle section were written with informal groups of people along the harbour, (I just went up to people and asked if they would take part and do you know not one group turned me away), and the last two or three are by groups of children who took part in sessions in the Spa and on the beach. Oh yes there is another in there that I wrote whilst dining at Pavarotti's.

I'm sure the many people who took part would be pleased to see them published here.

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Aquarium Overheard

There's something swimming!
Nasty pincers!
Look at its mouth!
Filtering food?
Er... A crab's arms?
But Mum,
There's some bones
Where? (Can't see)
Little girl
Too low down in the world
What's that Dad?
Look at it!
Look at it!
Little girl at last
Is lifted
She can see
She responds,
Er! I don't like that!

(Adrian Spendlow - Bridlington's Poet in Residence
From conversations overheard in Bridlington's Maritime Aquarium)

Bridlington's Maritime Aquarium

Impossible animals anchored in this chunk of ocean
Essence of the seas displayed, moving at its own rate
Swirls of salty time weave life amid the wild moss rocks
Aquarium sings the song of the secret deeps
Leap through that glass into another way to be
And fly the fishes' dance so slow
Am I now, as I watch, discovering a lugubrious tranquillity?
Entranced I exit, never hurried now
Floating through life differently for ever having been there
Dance me back there again another day
Always in my heart and spirit - Held - Remembered

(Adrian Spendlow - Bridlington's Poet in Residence)

Bridlington Harbour Heritage

Step back in time and sidle past the prison, hurry
Along by the mortuary
Slip the slime of harbour's stone
Whipped by salty breezes
Incoming tide behind
We turn inside
Propelled to where the many seabirds nest
Wonder at the inner whale
The Gansey patterns
Bombs, harpoons and tall keen masts
Fulmar, Kittiwake fly now over storm hit seas
The spirit of the ocean's men recalling ever when
This beach, this harbour wall
Where, piled high, with debris
Never let that spirit be forgot
Netted now - Amid your own imagination
Ponder intrigued over here
This little patch of long hatched memories
Has captured me

(Adrian Spendlow - Bridlington's Poet in Residence)

I Am Bridlington

I say
Bring you visitors back
And let you see the sea in a rage
I am Bridlington
I move sprouncilly
Swaggering - Proud of my heritage
I give you;
Salty seas, cold stone of the harbour
Silver moonlight paths across the waves
I am Bridlington
And I sing the laments of sailors lost
In my seaweed scarf and sailors Gansey
I am woven into the cloth of the sails
As old as my stone
I am young in my people
Strong in my storms
I am soft in my summers
A home for the waves
My winds can turn in a minute
I am autumn,
Changeable as a Chameleon
I am long cold grey stone,
A finger pointing to the depths
My sea will get you when it's rough
Get you when it's calm
I am a party;
The fun and joy of the summer
I am the getting of gifts
Half remembered - Often recalled
I say,
Love me - Love my harbour
Come again - Come again - Come again

(Diane Wilson, 'Bridlington Writers', whilst working as part of Word Quake's Resident Poet scheme with Adrian Spendlow)

Bridlington Bridlington Bridlington

Fluffy tickly candyfloss
Pink and shiny bargains
Rich warm sweet - More donuts to the pound
Bobbing boats 'We might fall out'
Exciting bright - There's pirates!
Bridlington Bridlington Bridlington
Welcoming beckoning seats
Thick with workaday stink: Those lobster pots
Ploughing, dozing, pushchairs
The always-busy fishermen
Tides trickle into secret pools
Next time in the caff - everybody's your pal
Bridlington Bridlington Bridlington
Dozing under newspapers
Nodding on the rod and line
Sun sparkled grains of sand
Fresh exotic local crab
Maybe one day lobster, one day
Bridlington Bridlington Bridlington
Giggles, tears and tantrums
Tempting prices - Tidy places
Lung-fulls of breezing energy
Relaxed, retiring, smart in lines and rows of happiness
Wishing for winter with its boldest storm
Cubbyhole-corners of locals huddle in good company
Bridlington Bridlington Bridlington
Busy walkway's hoards drift by unheeded
Wild abandon climbs inside the heart sometimes
Boats and cafes - Toys and cockles
A chance of something that is all the rage
Bridlington Bridlington Bridlington

(Written by the people of Bridlington's harbour area in the company of Bridlington's Poet in Residence, Adrian Spendlow)

Bridlington is Brilliant

Busy harbour - Busy lively Bridlington
Let there always be trains here: Many many
It is like a change away from tourism
Even though it's always busy
Didn't think Brid would be much
Then I got here. I'll be back!
I'm relaxed all right - Even here among the crowds
Credit to you Bridlington
And all who are behind you
We get the feel there are many
Who are interested in her
Many here are interesting
You take every opportunity
To bring us seating
Welcoming, relaxing, glad of it
Busy as a port, a bustling harbour
Always something going off
Brilliant! I've always said
Bring 'em in Bridlington
With your cheap things
And unobtrusive care

(Written by holiday makers in the company of Bridlington's Poet in Residence, Adrian Spendlow)

It's Bridlington!

They bring the fish in here
There are better seats here
Making changes for the better
I've always sat here in this suntrap
Crazy golf - Not too noisy
Peace and quiet wanted
More gardens as in years ago
I just like Bridlington
Clean and on the flat
No hills and all that n tuther
Never bustled, always busy
Remembering penny cornets; old money
Tanner pints - Threpence a can
This harbour it is natural
Glad to sit down
Glad it is here
Glad to be in Bridlington

(Written by regular visitors in the company of Bridlington's Poet in Residence, Adrian Spendlow)

Nice Little Bridlington

Attractions disguised among other things
Natural normal clean
Nice little town
See boats all the time
Those rides make you giggle
Horses, quad bikes. Boing!
Best donuts: Most for a pound
Nicer than it used to be
Bit of allsorts here
I like pirates
Bobbing up and down
Might fall out, but I like it
Come early in the year - Quiet
Entertain us all year
Give us: Tinsel Turkey
Entertainment in the springtime
Far more theatre
Put on shows for us Bridlington
Boats! Boats! I want to have a go!
I used to have one - I love boats
Little café, cup of tea, fish and chips, very nice
Tell you what is nice, is ice cream
Takes you back to being young
Been coming all our lives. We enjoy it
Nice resort - treat it with a bit of respect

(Written by holiday makers in the company of Bridlington's Poet in Residence, Adrian Spendlow)

Lovely To Be Here

Pretty welcoming shrubbery
The Parade - The Promenade
Makes you feel like walking
Feel good when you promenade relaxed
We walk, its lovely
Seagulls, boats, all this...
We are uplifted, impressed, free and easy
How do I feel? Lovely
Yes, when I am here I am,

(Written by a group of ladies in conversation with Bridlington's Poet in Residence, Adrian Spendlow)

Locals in the Harbour

Leave all this
The fishermen
The lobster pots
All this
If all this ever goes,
For me,
You could take Bridlington down

(Written by Bridlington residents who enjoy the harbour area whilst in the company of Bridlington's Poet in Residence; Adrian Spendlow)

A Couple Who Like Boats!

Boats! Going on a boat.
Bigger the better
Feel it sway
Some like it rough - 'I do'
Sway's OK, but always smooth
Steady steady
'No. Rough I say'
'Waves coming over'
'Getting wet'
'Rougher the better I say'
We like boats!

(Written by a couple who are regular visitors to Bridlington whilst in the company of Bridlington's Poet in Residence, Adrian Spendlow)

Deep Sea Diving

It's rainy - We're cold - We're shivering
We feel like we are falling over
And getting blisters
Crowds watch us
We feel nervous and excited and happy
We have a diving suit
Really heavy with
Lead boots and brass helmet
All metal and black plastic:
It is brilliant!
The creaking of wire ropes and winch motors
We feel dizzy
At a terrifying speed
We are dropped into the sea
We are going down
As slow as a jellyfish
Feeling like a squashed tomato
Now deeper than anyone has ever been
We are moving bubbly
Like swimming through jelly
'Diver to ship,'
We say,
'We are at the bottom'
'Its all black'
It is dark, cold and unusual
There are lots of fish around us
We can see lots of fish
Ugly fish swimming sluggishly
Rolling at the bottom of the sea
Millions of them swim around us
Feels like pins and needles
We see a mini-watch-chain-fish
And a fish never seen before
It has fangs, has no body and
An enormous mouth!
Then something cute;
A small pink fish
With lacy fins
And big orange eyes
A huge fish;
It's a Spa-fish
With a domed head
Looking for its brother
Another fish -
With eyes like the moon
Then we discover a wreck
Like a skeleton
Of a large brown dinosaur;
Sad and forgotten
We swim inside
It's like being inside
A house full of cupboards!
And inside,
What do we find?
It's a giant sea monster
We say over the radio
A giant sea monster
We are going up
It's crushy, slimy, gaspy
We break the surface
Feeling relieved
The TV crews meet us, we say
'Its totally amazing
We're gonna be famous'
The crowds greet us,
'Welcome home
heroes of the deep!'
We say, 'Calm down
We are now going
To save some fishermen
Lost in the storm'

(Written by families during Poetry Adventures with Bridlington's Poet in Residence, Adrian Spendlow)


Bridlington's poet in residence
is suddenly in ecstasy
This restaurant is the essence of Bridlington
Dine here for a moment with me
Go eat Italian
Deep pink seabirds on a lilac ocean -
My company
How could we ever be lonely?
As we swim with the subtleness, richness
I am an anchovy
Roma Lampada
Frutti De Mare
This could be anywhere
Should be everywhere
Bridlington is blessed
With an exotic, most ample,
Dine here again? - Oh yes

(Adrian Spendlow)

The Viking Poem

This was written as an all action piece so, unless you want to act it all out yourself, try and imagine the sounds the hoard of lively children made!

We are King Turanus' Vikings
We laugh like fierce evil tigers
We move like fast running squirrels
And breathe like a lion
We scream like witches in thunder and lightening
And eat like chomping pigs,
gobbling greedily
We fight like the devil's soldiers
We don't even care if we die!
This is our ship:
These are our swords:
We are King Turanus' Vikings and we say:
"Hurray! They're dead!"

(Written by children on Bridlington beach whilst taking part in Writer in Residence Adrian Spendlow's Poetry Adventures)

All Twisty the Sea Serpent

Made of slimy scales
All green, orange, yellow
And black
Like the skin of a frog
And a black dog
and the yellow sun
It reminds us,
When it moves,
Of lines of gold coins
Long and curly
With a round body
Sort of snake like
We swim into its cave
We are wet but happy
A little scared
There is:
In our language its called,
All Twisty
When it moves
It is bendy
Has Brownish / Bluish eyes,
Sneaky eyes
It looks at us
With just one eye
As if we look tasty
All Twisty's mouth
Is really big
Four huge fangs
Dripping with slaver
Long and fat,
It tongue catches fish
It cooks them
With its fiery breath
Its breath that smells of,
Rotten fish,
Strawberry jelly,
And just a hint of
Chocolate mouse!
All Twisty is as big as
Bridlington Beach
It is 194
That's old
It hasn't any hands
Has to use its tail
To hold its walking stick!
It gets up close to us
Very smelly
Like boiled sprouts
And old school dinners
It laughs,
Squeaky like a mouse
Like an old door
It speaks
Like Darth Vador
But higher pitched
And it says,

(By Hannah, Rebecca, Daniel and Andrew, written whilst taking part in Adrian Spendlow's Poetry Adventures on the beach)

All above items are copyright © to their respective authors

More of Adrian's Poems

Apologies for the corniness of this one:-

I Had A Terrible Childhood

I had a terrible childhood
We were poor. So poor we’d no shoes
We went barefoot but no-one noticed
Because of my Mother’s canny ruse
(They were beauts)
She blacked up our feet,
Tied our toes in a knot,
And people thought we were wearing boots

There were eight of us in the one bedroom,
The spot on the floor was mine.
Eight of us in the one bedroom
Till Nancy started courting
And then it went up to nine!

I was the one that nobody wanted
They used to wrap up my pack up
In a streets of London map.
I asked Mum, Was I adopted?
She said yes,
But they kept bringing you back!

At seven I was left an orphan
But what can you do with an orphan
When you are only seven

“Get out!”, my Dad said when I was eleven
(I was sent to a centre for correction)
“Get out!” said my Dad,
“You treat this place like a Hotel!”
“And leave your keys at reception”

I got my education at a very special school
You had to be sent there by a judge,
It was approved,
I got the feeling at home that I was unwanted
And sure enough it was proved
I came home from school, with a skip and a jump,
Only to discover they’d moved

And nobody woke me or made me my breakfast
It was quite a dash to school through the gate
“Come in” said the teacher in very strict order,
“It’s Geography. Where’s the Polish border?”
“In bed with mi Mother, that’s why I was late.”

“What do your parents do for a living?”
Said the teacher, with a lack of appeal.
“They’re in the Iron and Steel business”
My Mother irons,”
“And my Father steels.”

Not that I was ever beaten
They didn’t beat me or hit me or grab me
If I ever did dare step out of line
They would stab me

I ran away from home
I ran away from school
I ran away to be free
I wasn’t sure where I was going
So I ran away to sea

I got a job on an ocean-going tanker,
One that carried Red paint
But I steered us wrong,
This is true.
We collided with another
The paint that they carried was Blue
I was really in trouble
I was very nearly lampooned
Both the ships sunk
And the crew.....
Were marooned

We landed up on a little dessert island
Well me - and just another two
But luckily we
Found a magic lamp
Rubbing it was the thing to do
And so appeared a Genie - with the cramp
There he stood magnificently on the beach
And gave us three wishes
That’s....One each
“I wish I was in London.” said the first
He was off with a crack
“I wish I was back in Belfast” said the other
And he disappeared with a similar crack
Then the Genie turned to me,
“So, what is it to be?”
I said,
“I’m lonely”
“I wish I had mi mates back”

We escaped - when a shark said,
“I’ll tow yer”
We paid him off with a poorly Octopus
We said,
“Here’s that sick Squid we owe yer”

We hitched a lift with a millionaire
He was rushing home
As he’s heard his wife was acting improper
He rushed home by aeroplane,
And by Hell he copt ‘er

We landed up at Scarborough, fair
And soon made it rich
By selling the sand which is there

Pretty soon our pockets were burning
“Let’s go somewhere really exciting” we did say
But somehow we took a wrong turning
And that’s how we got here today.

Something a bit more spiritual:-

All Before Us

Just think of all the lives that have lived before us
So many souls that have walked this way
What I wouldn’t give to see all they’re pathways
Yes how I’d hope to inherit their happiness
It is good I suppose to not feel all their sufferings
Let’s just hope we don’t repeat all they’re mistakes
We owe them a debt I reckon to walk somehow taller
Straighter yes and prouder through all that heritage

Oh walk us life, down a path, deep trod with experience
Feel the past’s arms supporting us and pointing ways
Our instinctual kindred learnt so much through their struggles
Perhaps some of that knowledge is tied up inside of us
Enough to know not to trample other folk for our gain

Millions have live and died with their eyes on the future
Their hopes cried aloud to all that would listen
Not just for themselves or their own, but us all
We hear you our kindred, our families, our truth
We take what you offer foundations, our roots
So many that have lived and died stand before us
So many souls that once walked are still with us
Let’s step through their visions with their will to survive
Then maybe together we might dare say,
‘We’ve arrived’

And a bit of a rant:-

Working (is it?)

Investment tokens
That’s all you get
Nothing to spend
Nothing to actually spend
A monthly deposit
A transitory amount
In and out – In and out
Figures..........doesn’t it
She is allotting it for purchasing
In advance; committing it
She or he committed, (should be),
For living so un-free
“That’s the next thing”
Plus the electronic divisions disappearing,
Paying off the ‘last thing’
Aspects; sub-divisions of your
Imaginary income
Coming in, going off again
Nothing that relates to employment
Bring back the weekly
Bring back folding money
Packet – in, this way of living
Time was, - we got cash
All nicely folded – in grease-proof
Ours to allot – and actually go out with
We earned this. It lasts us.
Week by week by week by
Bloody hard working week
We earned
We did something
Earned something
Folding money
Folding money
Our week’s worth
Folding it and feeling free

And a lovely older one:-

Winnie’s busy picking windfalls
While the trees are full with fruit
In the spinney - By the plum-wall
Recalling eagerness of youth

Sprightly vigil for the bramble
Acorn coffee, Oak-leaf jam
Seasons heralded by frogspawn
Rosebay clock. Rhodededran

“Friday – 2.30 – Time for swimming”
Timeless busy Winnie says
Five long years gone
Since the last trip
Life drifts by her in a haze

She’d still dip and splash and paddle
Age means nothing, ‘spite her pains
She is living a past life time
Walking down an old spring’s lane

Seeking solace in the seasons
Securely miss the pass of time
Somehow skip and laugh with new lambs
Life’s in circles – Not down a line

Winnie’s busy picking windfalls
Soul in tune with natures yearn
In the knowledge of the old tales
Timeless pass of season’s turn

In the spinney - By the plum-wall
Recalling eagerness of youth
Winnie’s busy picking windfalls
While the trees are full with fruit

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